What is Translation Memory – Is it the same as Google Translate?

101 Guides, Technology, Translation & Localization29 September 20215.9k

If you’re looking to have some of your business material translated into other languages, there is now lots of technology available that can assist with the process of localization and getting it to your audiences, wherever they are in the world.

One of these useful tools that we make the most of here at EQHO is Translation Memory (TM) software. What is Translation Memory and is it the same of Google Translate?

What is Translation Memory?

Translation Memory is a type of software that allows translators to recycle past translations in order to speed up the ones they are involved with during their current projects.

Each time translations of sentences or segments of text are carried out, the TM stores them and their translation in an enormous database. The next time the person starts to translate a new sentence or phrase, the TM quickly searches the database to see if those particular words have been used before – and if they have, it presents them.

For this reason, it’s useful to think of it as akin to predictive text; it saves time by working based on things it already knows or has seen.

Human translators can then simply drop the prediction into their current document and move on, rather than having to translate the whole thing from scratch.

Can’t this result in mistakes?

We’re all familiar with the translation engines that sprang up online in the late 1990s and presented some frankly hilarious results when phrases were typed into them.

In fact, they were so far off the mark that businesses realised early on they couldn’t be trusted and it’s understandable that they’d still want to avoid them now.

However, TM is different because it doesn’t use individual words, only whole segments, thereby preventing grammatical errors and words being taken out of context.

Matches from the database are shown up with a percentage accuracy rating and translators will not use those that are below a certain amount, opting instead to translate the phrase manually – and then store it so they’ve got it for next time.

How we use TM at EQHO

When we receive new items to translate from our clients, we first analyse the file to determine how much of it can be made up of repetitions from past translations, including total and what we call ‘fuzzy matches’, and how much will need to be new translations.

It’s then possible to provide the client with a quote for the price of translating this particular document, with total matches usually the least costly and non-matches charged at the usual per-word rate.

Benefits of using TM

You might assume that TM is more for our benefit than it is for yours as our client, but this isn’t actually the case.

In fact, because TM can lower costs and speed up the rates at which our human translation team can work, we’re able to charge our customers less, meaning savings will be passed on to you.

Furthermore, TM translations tend to be much more consistent and so you’ll enjoy greater accuracy, which should have a knock-on effect to your own business reputation.

Another plus point is the fact that TM can support an unlimited number of languages, so you’ll be able to keep on reaching out to your customers wherever they are in the world.

Finally, since TM means our translators can work on files and documents in lots of different formats without having the same software as you, it will eliminate compatibility issues and cut out those emails that often have to be sent to chase work up when it can’t be opened by the recipient.

We’re experts in Asian localization and translation services here at EQHO and have more than 17 years of experience, so contact us today to find out more about how localization can benefit your business.


Are your translation solutions scalable?

As experts in Asian localization and translation services, with more 20 years of experience, EQHO is the ideal choice. To find out more about how localization can benefit your business, or to get started, contact us today.

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